Dorothea Hotel: the pinnacle of heritage preservation and modern development
The historic areas of Hotel Dorothea, which include the Mahart and Votura Houses and the former headquarters of the Savings Bank, have been meticulously restored to harmonize the architectural splendor of Hungary’s past with contemporary design.
The project saw the preservation of all important elements of the buildings, reflecting Budapest’s rich architectural heritage. Managed by BDPST Group in collaboration with Milan-based Lissoni & Partners, together with local Hungarian experts, this transformation represents a noteworthy endeavor in the field of Hungarian real estate development.
Scheduled to open to the public on Budapest’s Vörösmarty tér in November 2023, the Dorothea Hotel is a testament to complex heritage preservation and modern property development. The project team, which faced its share of challenges, remained steadfast in its commitment to preserving the inherent value.
The project integrates three buildings of historical significance: Mahart House, Futura House and the former Savings Bank headquarters. The complex property now includes a five-star hotel of international standards, upscale residential units, dining establishments, retail spaces and an attractive rooftop terrace. Furthermore, the botanical-themed interior courtyard subtly references the previous owners Palatine Joseph’s interest in botany and Archduchess Dorotea’s call for the development of Budapest.
As part of the planning permission procedure, a detailed heritage conservation study was undertaken by art historians, who worked to identify areas to be protected and restored on a site-by-site basis. The Heritage Protection Office continued to monitor construction once permits were issued, with the common goal being to restore the remaining architectural monuments in a dignified manner after the buildings’ turbulent history.
Preserving architectural values, along with preserving historical memories, has emerged as a primary goal. The building’s collective historical past has been researched, processed and compiled into a book to make it accessible to the general public.
The initial construction phase required rigorous civil engineering processes. Besides, archaeological excavations under the supervision of the Budapest History Museum have uncovered parts of the city’s past, including traces of a well from the 17th to 18th centuries and a medieval cannonball.
A dedicated focus on historic preservation permeated the development process. It is worth noting that the facade of the Wekerle utca, which exudes an atmosphere reminiscent of Italian Renaissance styles, has undergone a meticulous restoration.
Interior structural renovations preserved historic design elements while incorporating contemporary building techniques. The important stage included the introduction of a steel-framed glass roof over the inner courtyard, a modern engineering achievement.
The interior design, created by Lissoni & Partners and completed by Hungarian designers TSPC, combines history with present-day aesthetics. The restaurants’ interior design is credited to Spanish studio Astet, while Hungarian studio Archikon Architects provided overall architectural direction.
István Tiburč, owner of BDPST Group, commented: “Our primary goal remains preserving value. The Dorothea Hotel project is a symbol of this spirit. By renovating these historic buildings, we have ensured that they meet modern-day requirements without marginalizing their ancient past.”
The 35,000 square meter hotel, managed by Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, features 216 rooms and a range of facilities, including a wellness center and conference halls. Two culinary establishments, The Pavilon Restaurant & Bar and Anton Bar & Deli, will be in operation from launch, with plans to open two more restaurants, Alelí and BiBo, in 2024 under Michelin-starred Chef Dani Garcia.
In its entirety, the Dorothea Hotel project represents a harmonious convergence between architectural preservation and progressive real estate development in Budapest.
BD BST Group
Founded in 2015, BDPST Group is a dynamically growing capital investment and real estate development company. Its strategic goal is to become a group of companies with a clear economic vision, multiple sectors, internationally competitive capabilities, and distinguished market performance.
The group manages a number of investments in the tourism real estate market, financial sector and logistics services. It is committed to the principles and practices of economic, social and environmental sustainability. It therefore seeks investments that meet these criteria and contribute to the preservation of the Hungarian architectural heritage and create value in the real estate market.
This article was first published in the print issue of the Budapest Business Journal on October 20, 2023.